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  • The Storyteller

Case Review: Arrival Experience at Langkawi airport

The hotel representative who met us at the airport had very heavy make-up - face, eyes, cheeks, lips.


There was also no use of guest name, and the name printed on her name sheet had a spelling error.


She: How's the flight?

Us: Oh, quite easy and short, only an hour odd.

She: (Silence)

Recommendation: if you start with a question, be the one to wrap up that part of conversation. Just being in silence after the response is given, makes the other party feel ignored or dismissed. It also reflects the lack of genuine interest when the original question was asked.


There was no assistance offered for the mid-size handheld luggage.


Things seemed a little disorganised as we awaited the hotel car to pull up. The airport rep explained, "There is quite abit of jam and the driver has to make another round." However, seeing cars from other hotels well parked by the kerbside and the drivers stood waiting, ready for their arriving guests, we felt the sense of readiness was lacking and the reason sounded more like a convenient excuse to shift the blame. No apology was provided.

While the airport rep tried - and looking frantically we might add - calling the driver, she asked us to follow her and cross the small road to the other side. She was more focused on getting through the line, rather than be on the lookout for incoming traffic for us. After several minutes of slight delay, the vehicle arrived at the other lane and she then asked us to cross back to the original side.

Recommendation: If any delay, extend a sincere apology and inform how much longer is the expected wait. Take the opportunity to show care and interest in the guests, such as offering them to stop by the washroom or convenience store (if appropriate), ask if they had any food in the plane and to offer placing a room service order in advance, enquire about activities or sights they may be keen in during the stay, etc.


Inside the car, there were two fresh bottles of water - with labelling from a (gasp!) competitor hotel. (Many hotels engage the same limousine company for the transfers)


About ten minutes into the journey, we informed the driver that we had left a book on the plane. We provided our boarding pass and asked if he could contact the airport representative to check with the airline counter. The driver, who was a contracted external staff, said he would send the photo of the boarding pass to the lady and asked for us to speak directly with her using his phone. We did so and the heavily made-up employee told us, "I will try, but please inform hotel when you reach, because I have to wait for arriving guests now."

Recommendation: The response sounded a tad too abrupt, as if the employee was delegating a task to the guest. Ask about the book title. Make it known that you (the airport rep) would also inform the hotel Front Office team. Assure guest that if the item could not be located, the hotel would try its best to check with the local bookstores (or even online store for home delivery back in own country).

Service Bank: What's the net balance in the overall Service Bank based on the above encounters? How would you justify each deposit or withdrawal?

Reflective thoughts: On a monthly basis, what are the top three hiccups that occur during your hotel's airport transfers? Why are they still occurring and what can be done to reduce or prevent them from happening yet again?

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